Will probably delete this but want to post for those who feel similar because it's maddening thinking you're the only one/one of very few. I am very sad about but making peace with the fact that romantic love is sthg that eludes some of us for reasons we cannot know or control.
When I say elude, I don't mean it will never, ever happen. I'm saying that whilst many people go in and out of relationships on some miraculous, regular wave, some of us have that happen rarely or not at all.
The more time passes, the more you build a self unaccustomed to and frankly quite alienated by the idea of partnership. Much like the serial monogamist who can't stay single, it becomes a nebulous hypothesis, some fantastical theory your body has no visceral reference for.
It is just bad luck. And luck can ofc turn on a dime. But it can also just go on like that, reliably & laughably shitty, for years or even decades. You can make yourself sick with hope, waste time & energy with your antenna raised whilst simultaneously pretending not to care.
This anxiety has generated a multi billion dollar industry of books/events/courses/apps claiming to have an answer. Attempts are made to lace singledom with some semblance of dignity or even gravitas. But we remain a species addicted to the salvation of romantic love.
The solutions peddled by apps & self help gurus work for some. But there is another experience, another rambling path: sad, difficult, ghostly, formative & continually humbling. Undisturbed, you learn to truly hear yourself and the tide of your thoughts, for better and for worse
The term relationship STATUS speaks volumes. It's as much about ego as anything else, wanting to signal to the world that s/o has freely elected to give your their time, care & attention. In lieu of meaningful community ties, this is the last bastion of relational safety.
Seperate from one's private desire for a partner, long term singleness can just feel...socially mortifying. It's hard to be in the world, talking to people who constantly & casually refer to partners & exes, this seemingly universal experience for which you have no testimony.
For some it's a genuine or perceived lack of options. Some won't settle. I wont get into how & why I've found myself firmly in my thirties & never in love. I've driven myself insane with elaborate theories. I will rest with and reiterate this simple, elegant thing: it's bad luck
It pierces you like a shard of glass some days: except for cursory hugs and handshakes signalling hello & goodbye, you haven't been touched, meaningfully, for months or perhaps even years.
You smother your libido such that sex reverts back to the slightly silly and gross act it seemed like when you first heard about it as a child. Better to be mildly disgusted by it than ache for it every day.
Yet: I have my health, my friends, my flat, my dream job. No one I love is dead, for now. It's an embarrassment of riches. It would be greedy of me to demand a sweeping love story on top of that. I don't think any of us get to have it all, all at once.
I'm not under any delusions about partnership. Like anything, it can be anti-climatic, banal, exposing, violent. Even when its lovely & loving, life still finds other ways of sneaking in its sucker punches. I know this. But still. What else is there to say? It just sucks, innit.
What I wont do is be w anyone just to say I have s/o. What an insult to me & that person. I can be proud even if I go to my grave never experiencing it. I can say I strove to do all things joyfully & with intent. As it is in my hobbies, work & friendships, it must also be in love
We each have our story of exclusion, our own private gulf of shame. Let it grow, not shrink, your heart. Its this sense of lack, the very thing that makes you feel hideous, that builds your empathy. We each have our crosses to bear and we must do so with grace & good humour.
Please don't send me platitudes or assurances that it will happen or that I am lovable/desirable. Those things are certainly true in abstract and I know that. I want to talk honestly about the feeling without people rushing me towards a solution or soothing balm.
I have my flaws like anyone, but I sincerely think I'm amazing! That's entirely seperate from my dating experiences thus far. I am hugely deflated and uninspired by what love has been, or failed to be, up to now. That's all. But I have a long life ahead of me yet.
I'm gonna try not to lean towards it or stalk it down an alleyway. The apps are poison. They sap my soul and my phone data. I'm just gonna feel what I feel and live how I want to live. And no, not because 'love finds you when you least expect it'. Vomit. Miss me with that bar!
I never used to let myself acknowledge the weight of sadness I felt around this. I thought it was above me & the brilliant life I've built. Too basic, too pathetic! But breaking news: I am made of the same soft, jelly-ish needs as anyone. Hate that for me tbh, but there you go.
Sometimes I wish it were an organ, this longing. Then I could neatly & efficiently cut it out of my body. The world is so big, so gorgeous, replete with issues that deserve our focus. I want to stop thinking about this so I can apply my full self to anything & everything else.
No neat bow on this thread, I'm afraid. Wrote it for those that know what this feels like. I'm here, I'm with you, I get it. But we move! We're allowed to feel sad. In fact, I insist on our right to that. But life is for the living, because and in spite of all of this. Onwards x